Work continuing on Welsh disposable plastics tax

Work is continuing on a disposable plastics tax in Wales, despite it not being chosen from a shortlist of four new taxes to be introduced by the Welsh Government.

Wales will become the first country in the UK to introduce a new higher rate of landfill disposals tax to deter people from disposing of waste illegally on 1 April 2018, when it introduces its first new taxes for over 800 years.

Work continuing on Welsh disposable plastics taxLast year, the Welsh Government announced that it was developing other ideas for new devolved taxes, proposing four more, including a tax on disposable plastic, and asking for public feedback before picking one to take forward to the Welsh Assembly.

Since announcing the four-tax shortlist in October, the Welsh Government has been examining the case for each.

Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Finance Professor Mark Drakeford will today officially propose another of the four options - a vacant land tax designed to incentivise timely development and prevent dereliction and aid regeneration - but has said that work will also continue on each of the other three tax ideas. As well as a tax on disposable plastics and the vacant land tax, the other two ideas were a social care levy and a tourism tax.

No details of the possible disposable plastics tax have been released. In November, a month after the Welsh Government's announcement, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that the government would be considering a tax to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

The new Landfill Disposals Tax set to begin in a couple of months will retain much of the structure as the UK’s Landfill Tax, but will introduce a higher rate for unauthorised disposals, set at 150 per cent of the standard rate. For the tax year 2018/19, the unauthorised disposals rate will be set at £133.45 per tonne, compared to the standard rate of £88.95 and a lower rate for inert waste of £2.80.

For the first two years of the Landfill Disposals Tax, the standard and lower rates will remain consistent with those set by the UK’s Landfill Tax. The Welsh Government says this will ‘provide certainty and stability for businesses and reduce the risk of waste moving across the Wales-England border’.

The tax, which the Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecasts will generate £27 million in 2018/19, will tax the disposal of waste to landfill in Wales and will be payable by the 20 landfill site operators running the 25 active landfill sites in Wales, with the costs falling on waste operators.

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